*I know I've already waxed poetic about my house many, many times. I actually wrote this months and months ago and just decided to share it with all of you
Every time we drove past the cedar shingled Cape Cod my mother would comment on it. Such a pretty little house, she would sometimes say. Other times she would sigh as she gazed out the driver's side window and softly murmur, I just love that house. We passed it often. Not daily, but enough to regularly trigger Mom's admiration for it.
The cedar shingled little house was across the street and a few blocks up from the home I grew up in. The childhood home that I left at 18, during the summer that I graduated high school. Perhaps it was spending a month abroad in a country whose language I could not speak that empowered me. Navigating the rail system on my own and taking a trip to the Alps with my mother's younger sister only strengthened my confidence. I arrived home to catch wind that some friends were renting a house together and they didn't have to ask me twice. I packed my bags and joined them.
One apartment led to another, then another. With each new apartment came new roommates. Faces were always changing at the end of every lease. Boyfriends came and went just the same, until an "old" one became a "new" one again and swept me off my feet. I followed him back to Europe where we backpacked the west of Ireland, and jetted off to cities like London and Reykjavik. We were grounded only when our duo became a trio and the newest man in our lives was too small to travel. Putting down roots became priority, so at twenty two, with a thousand dollars and a dream we became homeowners.
That first house was perfect for our little family. Recently renovated, it was 1,000 square feet of cozy comfort. Soft gray cedar shingles sided the once seasonal bungalow. It was nestled on a piney street where the homes had led prior lives as unheated, summer cabins for vacationers. Gorgeous dark wood beams supported the soaring ceilings and raw wood paneling planked the walls. A brick hearth enveloped an entire corner of the "great room" where an old fashioned wood stove stood proudly in the middle. We settled there very easily, in a small town quite removed from the larger municipalities in which we had always lived. It was a quaint and quiet waterfront place where we made a quaint and quiet life.
Life is always changing rapidly and after the first 5 years my little man and I found ourselves living there alone. What had once been so inviting and cozy had grown a bit colder and even the memories weren't enough to warm us. Then fate came along in the way of a good hearted man. He wanted nothing more than to scoop us up and away and turn the chapter in our lives to a new page where his adventures could be penciled in with our own.
The new chapter came to involve another cedar shingled home, a farmhouse, in another waterfront community. It was the childhood home of the man who had changed our hearts forever. We fell in love with his farmhouse as we had fallen in love with him. Within the first months of our new lives there, the three of us ran off and said "I do". Our family that had once contracted, now expanded and the newest version of life had begun.
It wasn't long before our little family became a wee bit bigger in the form of a bouncing baby girl. Within the first few years the once roomy house felt constricting and small. The neighborhood we once loved for its simplicity had started to become a little bit polluted. Home was not so homey anymore.
We packed the car and traveled far away with the dream of planting roots in new soil. We found a dreamy house but not in our dream location. We knew we needed to live by the sea so we headed east and discovered a place we knew could bring us joy. Arriving home and sharing this big news brought only sadness to our loved ones and we began to question whether or not we could leave them behind. Deciding to keep options open, we looked for a home back home.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the real estate ad. "I know that house!" I thought as I picked up the phone to call our agent. The following day we pulled up in front and I knew deep inside at that very instant we had found home. I could see our family in the yard playing football. As I wandered from room to room I knew it was our family that would bring them to life again. I sat on the owner"s sofa in the family room peering out of the big picture window that is hung like a painting in a wall of built in bookshelves. The walls breathed the word. Home.
Today I walk the windy sidewalks I once walked and biked as a child. My daughter holds my hand as we chat the whole way to her elementary school. When I walk back alone, the air sometimes smells the same as it did when I was young. The birds chirp the same as they did over twenty years before. Sometimes the sky is even the exact same shades of blue. And when I see that cedar shingle Cape Cod appear in the distance, I can still hear my mother swoon, "Oh, I just love that house."
I finally made my way home again.